Synthetic fiber Definition : Definitions for the Clothing & fabric Industry

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Synthetic fibers are the result of an extensive search by scientists to increase and improve upon the supply of naturally occurring animal and plant fibers that have been used in making cloth.

Common synthetic fibers include:

Rayon (1910)

Acetate (1924)

Nylon (1939)

Modacrylic (1949)

Olefin (1949)

Acrylic (1950)

Polyester (1953)

  • PLA Polylactide (2002)

Specialty synthetic fibers include:

Vinyon (1939)

Saran (1941)

Spandex (1959)

Aramid (1961)

PBI (1983)

Sulfar (1983)

Lyocell (1992)

Other synthetic materials used in fibers include:

  • Acrylonitrile rubber (1930)

Modern fibers that are made from older man-made materials include:

  • Glass fiber is used for:

    • industrial, automotive, and home insulation (fiberglass)

    • reinforcement of composite and plastics

    • specialty papers in battery separators and filtration

  • Metallic fiber (1946) is used for:

    • adding metallic properties to clothing for the purpose of fashion (usually made with composite plastic and metal foils)

    • elimination and prevention of static charge build up

    • conducting electricity to transmit information

    • conduction of heat

Textile & Clothing definitions and Glossaries:
Clothing & Fashion Industry Definitions
fabric & Textile Industry Definitions
Fashion Terms / Fashion History / Fashion Designers / Fashion Brands etc.
Dye & Dyeing Industry Terms
Embroidery & Embroidery Industry Terms
fibers & fiber Industry Definitions
Sewing Terms & Definitions
yarns & yarn Industry Definitions
Hat & Headwear Definitions
Footwear & Shoe Industry Definitions
Shipping Industry Freight Definitions
Miscellaneous Apparel Industry Terms


The original source of this article and much of the synthetic fiber articles (copied with permission) is Whole Earth magazine, No. 90, Summer 1997.

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